Monsanto fails to shake city of San Diego in water pollution lawsuit
The city of San Diego recently cleared a major legal hurdle in its effort to force chemical giant Monsanto to pay tens of millions to clean up local waterways polluted with a class of cancer-linked chemicals, known as polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs.
Federal and state regulators have in recent years tightened standards for cleaning up PCBs in bays, rivers and creeks. As a result, municipalities, such as San Diego, have shelled out millions to contain or get rid of the toxins.
The lawsuit, brought by the city in 2015, alleges that the St. Louis-based corporation should bear at least part of that cost. Lawyers for the city contend that Monsanto knew for decades before the federal government banned PCBs in 1979 that the chemicals would result in widespread contamination and negative impacts to human and environmental health.
The case hinges on a novel legal strategy that could have widespread implications for corporate America. A law firm representing the city, Baron & Budd, has also brought similar lawsuits on behalf of a number of other municipalities, including Long Beach, San Jose, Berkeley, Oakland, Portland, as well as Seattle and Spokane, Wash.
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